P&G: Consumer Insights, Engaged Marketing Critical To Future Success

by , Oct 11, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Marc-PritchardProcter & Gamble’s top marketer said Thursday that the company needs to produce consumer insight and the agency’s charge is to follow with creativity. A breakdown in that relationship can bring trouble.

“Things go wrong when you have one without the other,” said Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand building officer. Pritchard said one way that P&G fails is when “we get too focused on ourselves” and lose sight of the need to “discover the truth,” which can yield messages with empathy, truth and emotion.

“If we disappoint consumers, they’ll hunt you down and call you out in a way that they were never able to do before,” Pritchard said at the ANA’s Masters of Marketing conference.

P&G, which has been running innumerable 30-second spots for years, has “to break the cycle of one-way conversation,” he said.

P&G invests heavily in consumer research, calling on psychologists, anthropologists and others to find “what do people really need and want from this product; what does it really mean for their lives?” The company also embraces social media activity as a tool that offers “the world’s largest focus group.”  

P&G not only follows social media activity diligently for research, but looks to respond swiftly with marketing -- be it engaging in the conversation, trying to optimize search strategy or even turn around an ad in days.

In one example, Tide was doused on a NASCAR track to help after a crash. P&G’s  “always on” Tide newsroom picked up all kinds of conversation. What was effectively a crowdsourced TV ad showing another capability of Tide was on the air soon.

Real-time ad creation was a central component of P&G’s recent Summer Olympics ad campaign with the “Proud Sponsor of Moms” theme. In one instance, touted gymnast Jordyn Wieber failed to qualify for the finals in one event and was devastated. But she recovered to help the U.S. win team gold. A P&G team in London swiftly produced a spot with Olympic footage connecting her comeback win with her mom.

With gymnast Gabby Douglas, P&G put together a spot as she won the all-around gold, showing her mom tearing up with emotion. That led to plenty of earned media across the leading social media hubs, Pritchard said.

“Marketing now is democracy on steroids,” Pritchard said.

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